ARBURG gains efficiency – Standardization and integration with SAP on IBM zEnterprise

Published on 24-Sep-2012

"IBM DB2 for z/OS is in our opinion the best database solution for our SAP systems. This solution is highly scalable and very reliable, and we did not need to establish new operations or disaster recovery processes." - Stefan Ridinger, DB/DC specialist, ARBURG


Industrial Products

Deployment country:

Enterprise Resource Planning, Information Integration, Information Management Foundation, Small & Medium Business, Smarter Computing, System z Software, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:


ARBURG GmbH + Co KG is one of the leading global manufacturers of injection molding machines for plastics processing. In line with its mark of quality “Made by ARBURG – Made in Germany,” the company produces 60 percent of all components in-house, and all its high-end injection molding machines for plastics processing are built at the company headquarters in Lossburg. Thanks to their modular design, the machines can be adapted very flexibly to the relevant customer and industry-specific requirements.

Business need:
ARBURG generates very large quantities of data from all five of its core business activities – development, purchasing, production, sales and service. The company’s IT systems need to process and manage the data efficiently, delivering management and operational data that enables managers to help ARBURG stay ahead of the competition and increase its business performance at all levels.

Implemented a comprehensive SAP environment including SAP ERP, SAP ERP HCM, SAP CRM, SAP SCM, SAP Product Lifecycle Management, SAP Strategic Enterprise Management, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP NetWeaver PI and SAP Solution Manager. Selected IBM DB2 for z/OS on IBM zEnterprise Server, taking advantage of the reliability and scalability of the IBM z114 server, the IBM z/OS operating system, IBM WebSphere MQ software and existing platform expertise. Implemented IBM System Storage DS8800 for SAP business data and other non-SAP data on IBM Storwize V7000.

Improved ability to deal with changing market conditions and to react more flexibly to customer demands based on an agile IT infrastructure. Enhanced efficiency with consistent processes and rapid scalability. Cut energy requirements by up to 80 percent with latest technology to support Green IT. Provided significant cost savings through process and platform standardization, with efficient use of hardware and skills. Reduced storage requirements for SAP databases with DB2 Deep Compression technologies.

Case Study

To read a German summary of this technical reference, please click here

About this paper
This paper describes how a leading German manufacturer, ARBURG GmbH + Co KG, leverages IBM zEnterprise technology and IBM DB2 for z/OS to operate a comprehensive SAP application landscape. For database workloads, ARBURG deployed two IBM zEnterprise 114 servers and IBM System Storage DS8800 storage solutions, and for application server workloads deployed IBM System x servers, IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller and IBM Storwize V7000 systems. The solution fits ARBURG’s requirements for efficiency, flexibility, scalability and reliability, all of which help the company stay ahead of the competition.

Background, starting point and objectives

ARBURG GmbH + Co KG is one of the leading global manufacturers of injection molding machines for plastics processing. In line with its mark of quality “Made by ARBURG – Made in Germany,” the company produces 60 percent of all components in-house, and all its high-end injection molding machines for plastics processing are built at the company headquarters in Lossburg. Thanks to their modular design, the machines can be adapted very flexibly to the relevant customer and industry-specific requirements. ARBURG serves a very broad range of customers across the automotive, electronics, packaging, medical equipment, and consumer goods sectors.

While approximately 1,800 of the company’s 2,150 employees work in Germany, ARBURG has a strong international focus. The company has its own organizations in 24 countries at 32 locations and exports some 60 percent of its output. Its subsidiaries and trading partners cover all continents and ensure the availability of spare parts and highly-trained support engineers in around 100 countries worldwide.

Initial IT environment
ARBURG’s overall IT environment has grown over time. Its business systems formed a complex, fragmented landscape of standard and highly customized applications. To operate its SAP solutions and legacy ERP systems, the company has relied on IBM technology for more than 40 years.

Working with IBM, ARBURG decided to upgrade its existing systems and deploy the new generation of IBM zEnterprise servers, which would enable the company to take advantage of the latest advances offered by the technology,

Business challenges and project objectives
Being flexible and running efficient production operations are the foundations of ARBURG’s success. To maintain its leading position in the industry, the company aimed to drive down costs and accelerate its time-to-market in order to improve customer satisfaction – without compromising on its outstanding product quality.

ARBURG generates very large quantities of data from all five of its core business activities – development, purchasing, production, sales and service. The company’s IT systems need to process and manage the data efficiently, delivering management and operational data that enables managers to help ARBURG stay ahead of the competition and increase its business performance at all levels.

Existing solutions were largely based on independent applications, connected through complex interfaces that were become progressively harder and more expensive to maintain. As customer demand changed, the effort and delays associated with modifying business processes and their supporting software made it clear that more streamlined, modern and optimized business processes were needed.

Technical Solution
To meet the challenges, ARBURG decided to replace its existing in-house business systems with an integrated SAP software environment. The solutions deployed include SAP ERP, SAP ERP Human Capital Management, SAP Customer Relationship Management, SAP Supply Chain Management, SAP Product Lifecycle Management, SAP Strategic Enterprise Management, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration and SAP Solution Manager.

In parallel, ARBURG embarked on a program of updating and standardizing the supporting IT infrastructure, both to provide the flexibility and performance required for the new SAP solutions, and to enable greater automation and enhanced productivity in IT operations.

Server architecture

Efficient IT operations on zEnterprise
Working with IBM, ARBURG standardized its IT systems and implemented a comprehensive SAP environment on IBM technology. Leveraging its existing IBM zEnterprise and IBM z/OS skills, ARBURG selected IBM DB2 for z as the database platform for its SAP software.

“IBM DB2 for z/OS is in our opinion the best database solution for our SAP systems”, says Stefan Ridinger, DB/DC specialist at ARBURG. “This solution is highly scalable and very reliable, and we did not need to establish new operations or disaster recovery processes. We can simply use the existing approaches and workflows that we developed and refined over many years working with IBM zEnterprise.”

Upgrading its mainframe environment, ARBURG deployed two IBM zEnterprise 114 servers. The production server has three central processors and two IBM System z Integrated Information Processors (zIIPs) activated. The zIIP is a special-purpose processor designed to help process certain IBM DB2 related tasks at a reduced software license and processor cost.

The IBM zEnterprise servers offer superior reliability and performance, and provide a highly secure environment for running mission-critical workloads, managed through Resource Access Control Facility (RACF). RACF is closely integrated with operating system features and provides improved security for data managed with an IBM zEnterprise server. The technology protects the vital system resources and controls permissions and access rights on the operating system level.

Advanced technology such as the integrated and hardware-accelerated compression feature ensure the most efficient usage of the available computing and storage resources.

ARBURG’s business continuity and disaster recovery solution ensures that in the event of failure or disaster, the company’s critical business applications will experience only brief downtime. One IBM zEnterprise 114 is used as the production server, while the second machine is used as a cold backup. If the primary IBM zEnterprise server stops running, for example due to a power supply issue or some other problem, ARBURG can activate its Capacity Backup option and restart its production systems on the second IBM zEnterprise 114 server within an hour. Most incidents require much less time to resolve and usually the systems are back online after just a few minutes.

ARBURG set up seven logical partitions (LPARs) on its primary IBM zEnterprise 114 server to run its SAP database and legacy applications. An LPAR is a subset of an IBM zEnterprise server’s hardware resources, virtualized as a separate computing resource. An IBM zEnterprise 114 server can host up to 30 LPARs. In the production database logical partition, the company operates seven IBM DB2 database instances for its SAP production systems. In a second logical partition, ARBURG runs eight IBM DB2 database instances for quality management systems, and in a third logical partition ARBURG operates a total of 16 IBM DB2 database instances for its SAP test systems.

The fourth, fifth and sixth logical partitions on the primary IBM zEnterprise 114 are configured to run legacy applications, and the seventh logical partition is used for system maintenance.

“Getting hardware, system software and applications from just one vendor is a big advantage for us,” says Andreas Dümmler, Director of Information Systems at ARBURG. “This reduces the complexity of systems management and administration, and ensures that the components work smoothly together without interruption.”

Virtual application servers with IBM System x
Following an evaluation of different platforms and operating systems, ARBURG decided to run its SAP application servers on IBM System x hardware with VMware vSphere virtualization and the Microsoft Windows Server operating system. Working in close partnership with IBM and IBM Business Partner PROFI Engineering Systems, ARBURG implemented two virtualized VMware clusters and added four non-virtualized servers. For optimized business continuity, ARBURG relies on VMware vMotion technology, enabling high availability for its SAP ERP application servers with clustering and live migration capability.

The larger of the two grouped systems consists of eight IBM System x3650 class servers with 144 GB memory each and featuring Intel Xeon 5600 series processors. These processors automatically regulate power consumption and intelligently adjust server performance according to the application needs, maximizing both energy efficiency and performance in the data center. The second group of virtualized systems is based on six IBM System x3650 class servers, each with 64 GB main memory.

The SAP solution landscape on IBM System x servers at ARBURG consists of 27 central instances and seven additional dialog instances.

Accelerated variant configuration with dedicated hardware
For the SAP variant configuration application workloads, ARBURG uses four smaller non-virtualized application servers running on IBM System x3250 class hardware, featuring Intel Xeon processors. The power-efficient and compact system design helps ARBURG reduce its energy requirements, contributing to the company’s efforts to keep energy consumption as low as possible.

Storage architecture
The IBM zEnterprise 114 systems are connected to two IBM System Storage DS8800 storage systems, each with 43 TB high-speed disk capacity. The two storage systems are mirrored using IBM Metro Mirror, ensuring high availability, data security and consistency across both systems. For optimal performance, ARBURG implemented the HyperPAV storage virtualization feature, enabling parallel access volumes to use the available bandwidth more efficiently. HyperPAV simplifies performance management and achieves an on demand I/O model. The technology supports parallelized access by providing each operating system running on an IBM zEnterprise server with a separate view of the I/O resources. This approach increases the I/O efficiency of the IBM zEnterprise architecture.

Four IBM Storwize V7000 storage systems provide 240 TB total capacity and are accessed by the virtualized VMware clusters and the IBM System x3650 class servers through an IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller stretched cluster. This virtualized storage solution allows for optimal capacity usage and simplifies storage management of the company’s SAP and non-SAP workloads.

If ARBURG’s performance requirements change, the company can use built-in IBM Easy Tier technology to dynamically and automatically migrate data between spinning drives and solid state drives (SSDs) within the V7000 arrays, moving the most-accessed data to the SSDs for better performance and keeping the less-used data on the less costly standard drives.

Reliable data protection with IBM technology
ARBURG uses IBM FlashCopy® technology for fast and efficient backups. “With IBM FlashCopy, we can backup and recovery systems within seconds”, says Stefan Ridinger. “We also rely on this technology to clone production data into our quality management system for testing.”

For long-term protection of its mission-critical SAP data, ARBURG employs a backup solution based on IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager, IBM TotalStorage Virtual Tape Server and an IBM TotalStorage 3494 Tape Library.

The company implemented a tape library that supports tape virtualization to utilize the available resources more efficiently. With tape virtualization, the company can fully exploit the capability of the IBM System Storage 3592 tape drives and the capacity of their media. Tape virtualization also boosts the performance of ARBURG’s backup solution, as this configuration allows multiple tape volumes to be used concurrently with virtual tape drives.

As the IBM TotalStorage Virtual Tape Server manages the complexity of this solution, no processes or configurations were changed when ARBURG implemented the virtualized tape backup with IBM technology.

Efficiency with standard applications
By implementing a broad range of industry-standard software to support its business processes and manage its IT systems, ARBURG has greatly increased the efficiency of its solution landscape, with lower management and maintenance requirements.

The company now relies on SAP ERP for its core corporate functions, such as financial accounting, controlling, human capital management, purchasing, sales and delivery, supply chain management and customer relationship management. ARBURG has also deployed SAP ERP components to support its production and logistics workflows, including production planning and control, work scheduling, materials management, quality management, product lifecycle management and after-sales service management.

The integrated, end-to-end processes help to ensure that the company is always able to produce and deliver flexibly to fulfill its customer demands, with optimized sales order processes, manufacturing, inventory and logistics.

To run the company itself, ARBURG captures financial transactions with SAP ERP, and completes analysis and planning activities based on SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, with SAP BusinessObjects front-end software for advanced business intelligence.

To ensure consistent application management across all SAP systems, ARBURG uses SAP Solution Manager to help plan and execute software implementations and upgrades more efficiently. SAP Solution Manager provides a single point of control for application monitoring and problem solving, including the service desk feature for direct access to the SAP support team.

Deploying SAP software for complex tasks and easy integration
To support the growing complexity of its products, ARBURG is in the process of migrating its customer self-service configuration management system from an in-house developed application to the SAP standard solution for variant configuration.

To drive standardization, the company also integrated a number of applications and processes with SAP. ARBURG uses SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP PI), the SAP enterprise application integration solution, to ensure that both SAP and third-party applications communicate smoothly.

For example, ARBURG connected its travel request form to SAP ERP, allowing employees to access the travel request form from within their IBM Lotus Notes® collaboration software. This is directly linked to the SAP ERP Human Capital Management solution. The company also integrated its existing purchase requisition functionality via the IBM Lotus Notes Connector, accelerating and simplifying procurement workflows.

ARBURG also integrated its document management and archive systems, to provide transparent access to all relevant documents directly from within the main SAP application. Using SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, IBM WebSphere MQ, CICS and COPICS, ARBURG integrated its legacy ERP, fax, tax invoice management, order confirmation, electronic banking, shipment and transportation, and electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions. This enables users to access historic data from within the SAP solutions, which is particularly valuable during the transition period.

Currently, 800 people access ARBURG’s SAP solutions, and, when completed, the total number will rise to approximately 1,200 users. At that point, all of the company’s 580 users of the legacy ERP system will then be working with SAP applications ARBURG’s largest SAP system has a database size of 665 GB. The company’s SAP production systems manage a total of 1.6 TB of data, while integration and test systems require 4.7 TB of storage space.

“Standardizing on SAP applications and integrating solutions with our SAP systems improves overall processes, increases transparency and also reduces the complexity of our application landscape”, comments Andreas Dümmler. “We in the IT department work closely with the different lines of business to optimize business and IT processes and thereby improve our overall business operations.”

Deployed IBM for increased efficiency
ARBURG operates a range of other IBM solutions to manage its IT systems and provide additional IT services. Research and development systems run on IBM Power Systems servers with IBM PowerVM® virtualization, IBM AIX® and IBM DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows. The company runs an internal portal solution based on IBM WebSphere Application Server and USU KnowledgeMiner software. The portal ensures that everyone at ARBURG has access to current information whenever they need it.

The company is a long-term user of IBM Lotus Notes groupware and recently deployed IBM Connections to enable social media features to improve employee productivity further.

For performance optimization and monitoring of its IBM zEnterprise environment, ARBURG implemented IBM Tivoli Monitoring solutions. IBM InfoSphere® Optim® Performance Manager together with IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON® XE for CICS on z/OS and IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for DB2 Performance Monitor on z/OS are used to analyze workloads in detail and proactively manage the performance of the SAP databases and the legacy CICS system. These tools enabled ARBURG to optimize system configurations and improve the performance and reliability of its IBM zEnterprise environment.

Project achievements
ARBURG sees a clear competitive advantage in being able to react quickly to customer requests and to changing market conditions. The company’s long-term strategy is to introduce standards-based process optimization supported by industry-leading SAP solutions running on IBM technology. The objective is to optimize processes and improve transparency and quality, leading to shorter cycle times and reduced time-to-market.

The comprehensive SAP solutions have helped ARBURG to simplify and accelerate its internal processes, and user productivity is rising as everyone accesses the shared solution and consistent data. With SAP software as the operational standard, staff require less training and are able to work more productively, getting more done faster, and with reduced error rates.

ARBURG is also enjoying improved customer productivity: by enabling an enhanced self-service configuration solution, customers are able to place complex orders themselves, reducing order times and increasing customer satisfaction significantly.

The company’s IT infrastructure has contributed substantially to its corporate strategy of optimizing energy efficiency. This contribution is in line with ARBURG’s certification of an energy management system according to ISO 50001, certifications for its quality management system according to ISO 9001, and its environmental management system certified according to ISO 14001.

“By migrating to the latest generation IBM zEnterprise 114 server we have reduced our energy consumption by 80 percent,” says Andreas Dümmler. “Likewise, implementing the IBM System Storage DS8800 storage solution cut power consumption for IBM zEnterprise disk storage by 25 percent. Additionally, migrating and consolidating Microsoft Windows servers on IBM System x servers with VMware virtualization has shrunk the number of physical servers by more than 50 percent and lowered energy requirements by 60 percent.”

Performance improvements
Running its SAP databases on IBM zEnterprise server and using virtualized IBM System x machines for the SAP application servers enables ARBURG to boost IT efficiency and facilitate scalability. The company benefits from reduced storage requirements with the integrated IBM DB2 compression features, and the IBM zEnterprise hardware compression functionality has enabled reduced system response times. Deploying the latest server and storage technology is a key component of ARBURG’s strategy to cut waste and increase energy-efficiency.

End-to-end monitoring with IBM InfoSphere Optim Performance Manager helps ARBURG to identify and eliminate network latency issues, accelerating critical SAP ERP transactions substantially.

The implementation of the dedicated IBM System x3250 class servers has resulted in performance improvements of more than 25 percent over the previous generation of servers used for the variant configuration solution.

Backup and restore times have been reduced through the use of IBM FlashCopy. This technology enables ARBURG to backup and restore its SAP systems within minutes without any interruption for users. Fast cloning of the SAP DB2 subsystems allows ARBURG to support its application development teams more efficiently. By giving its application developers the ability to test programs in near real-time using current data, the company is able to further accelerate its move from a legacy ERP system to the integrated SAP environment.

Enabling tape virtualization has reduced the overall tape subsystem costs significantly. It has also simplified backup and archive management by reducing the number of cartridges that are required to store the backups.

Viewed as a whole, the IBM infrastructure gives ARBURG the capability to grow its SAP environment gradually without the need to frequently invest in new hardware or to change system administration processes. This approach saves money and ensures excellent performance in a changing and growing SAP environment.

“In IBM and SAP, we have found excellent partners for innovation and growth,” says Andreas Dümmler. “Thanks to their close collaboration, we managed to integrate our legacy systems with the latest SAP solutions, providing smooth workflows across very different systems. Looking back, it was the right decision to engage with IBM and SAP. We would do the same again.”

Next steps
To drive the consolidation and integration project forward, ARBURG is currently working with IBM Business Partner CENIT to integrate its CATIA solution from Dassault Systems with SAP, linking SAP product data to the actual CAD data used in product development and production processes. When completed, this solution will provide easy access to all relevant product information through the central SAP ERP application – further increasing ARBURG’s productivity.

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Storage, Storage: DS8800, Storage: Storwize V7000, System x, System x: System x3650 M3, System z: zEnterprise 114 (z114)

DB2 for z/OS, Rational ClearCase, Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for DB2 on z/OS, WebSphere MQ, Tivoli OMEGAMON XE for CICS on z/OS, Rational Application Developer, InfoSphere Optim Performance Manager, Lotus Notes, Tivoli Storage Manager, WebSphere Application Server, System Storage SAN Volume Controller

Operating system:
z/OS and OS/390

IBM-SAP Alliance

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